Sunday 22 April 2018

Strikes will cost €5m and totally undermine us - Dublin Bus CEO

Ray Coyne, Dublin Bus CEO Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Ray Coyne, Dublin Bus CEO Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Anne-Marie Walsh

The chief executive of Dublin Bus has warned his 3,364 staff that embarking on further strikes will "totally undermine" the company's credibility and cost it over €5m.

In a letter sent on the eve of a second 48-hour stoppage today, Ray Coyne said a 2.75pc pay rise, that the company is willing to pay each year for three years, is "well above the industry norm".

He said the average wage increase is 2pc in the public and private sectors. But unions want a pay rise of 5pc a year over three years.

A second two-day strike was set to begin at midnight last night, although buses stopped running from 9pm yesterday. "As a result of the industrial action, the second 48-hour stoppage will cause huge disruption to our services and customers until midnight on Friday," said Mr Coyne yesterday. "This action will totally undermine the credibility of the company as being the best operator of the bus network in Dublin."

He said this was despite 13 months of meetings with unions in the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. He said the talks resulted in a Labour Court recommendation that would give every employee a pay rise of 8.25pc over 16 months.

They would get 2.75pc backdated to January this year if they accept the recommendation, another 2.75pc in January next year, and the same increase the following January.

"We believe this pay award to be fair and reasonable and acknowledges the contribution of all employees to the company's recent financial recovery."

In addition, he noted that the Labour Court recommended that talks on productivity measures begin in the Workplace Relations Commission with every grade of employee to increase pay over and above the 8.25pc flat pay award. Mr Coyne's warning comes as Dublin Bus competes with Transdev and other operators tendering for 10pc of the bus service.

Meanwhile, Siptu and the Nbru claimed those they need to negotiate with "seem to have gone into hiding". Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Division Organiser Owen Reidy said there was a lack of interest among Dublin Bus management and the Department of Transport in trying to resolve the dispute.

The Nbru urged Minister Shane Ross to intervene and said he must give Dublin Bus permission to negotiate at fresh talks. However, a spokesperson for the minister said the company does not need his permission.

Irish Independent

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